« ZurückWeiter »
pulation consists of actors out of work, business of the tribunal, and a little to theatrical agents, policemen, pick- spare for those distinguished amateurs pockets, and ladies of easy virtue. who are in the habit of crowding the
The public buildings are the Thea- bench when any criminal of more than tre. Royal, of which enough has been ordinary atrocity is brought up for ex. said in a former chapter of our series, amination. and the Police Court, to which we are When we entered, a little, swarthy, now about to direct the attention of but healthy-looking man, gray-haired, the curious observer of men and man of a pleasing expression of face, with
twinkling black eyes, occupied the We may mention, as a supplement judicial seat. Instead of a wig, as at to the above exquisite morceau of to
Westminster, he wore his hat, but was pography, that Bow Street in com otherwise undistinguished as to cosmon parlance, is absorbed and swal tume. lowed up in its principal signification We could not avoid remarking that that of a police office ; a Bow Street his worship was a devoted believer in officer is a term significant and com
the doctrines of Lavater. Nothing prehensible as a Bow Street lounger. could exceed the scrutiny of his dark If you hear that a friend of yours has eye as it fell upon the evidence in the been taken to “ Bow Street,” you witness box, or the prisoner at the may expect nothing less than to have bar. He glanced from plaintiff to dea full, true, and particular account of fendant, from prisoner to prosecutor, him in the newspapers ; and if a quar
as he would discover the chance there relsome fellow declares that he'll have might be of getting a word of truth you up at Bow Street, you must be a out of any of the parties, and around devilish slow coach indeed, if you do his lips played a peculiar smile-not not try your best to decline the invita- by any means a sneer, but a smile of tion.
easy incredulity, observable only in A number of sickly-looking women,
men who have been accustomed through and pallid gin-faced men, lurking about life to behold in its full development the doors of an unpretending stucco
the worser side of human nature-in fronted edifice, indicate the police- lawyers especially, and judges. office; a closed door, inscribed - Ma His worship was attended by the gistrates' entrance,” and an open door, usual subordinate officers-a clerk of sufficiently pointing out the public court, a dapper, pert, whipper.snapper thoroughfares, complete the identity of personage, as magistrates' clerks inva“ Bow Street."
riably are; a bottle-nosed clerk of the On making his debut, the stranger- arraigns, who read the charges against happy he whose face is a strange face prisoners and the summonses between here-is immediately assailed by a party and party. In a side box sat number of blue-bottles in ordinary, three gentlemen, reporters of the pubwho act the part of touters, imagining lic press. Facing the magisterial chair that nothing but business could have was the felons' dock, guarded by a induced the wayfarer to trust him- functionary whose office was sufficientself in such a frowzy atmosphere : ly indicated by a number of keys chain“ declaration, sir,” application, ed together, and carelessly thrust besir,
.“ speak with the magistrate, neath the lining of his jacket. sir,”-assail him at every turn; and it A promiscuous lot of ne'er. do. well is not without some difficulty that, at men and dilapidated women filled the length, the student of human character hutch or pen at the lower end of the is ushered into the awful presence of apartment. When you have taken nothe presiding judge himself.
tice of a bronzed plaster cast of the The apartment in which this emin original magistrate of Bow Street, on nent functionary retails the small wares the top of a book. case where repose of justice, is somewhat narrow and in the statutes for the guidance of police commodious—the least possible space magistrates, and have sufficiently adis set apart for the public_barely mired the gilded royal escutcheon over enough to conform to the theory of our all, you will have leisure to concentrate constitution, that the courts shall be your attention upon that lamentableopen to the meanest subjects; but looking gent, now in the act of disburwithin the inclosure of imitation oak, sing the customary penalty for getting there is ample space for the ordinary drunk-where the law can take hold
of him. How much ashamed he looks These Spartan youths having failed in -how he averts his eyes from the im an attempt to extract a pocket handpudent stare of the vulgar throng, and kerchief, must pay the penalty consewith what evident reluctance he drib- quent on being found out, and are pun. bles out shilling after shilling, then, ished for this culpable want of prolisting his hat as much as possible to fessional dexterity. conceal his chagrin, slinks shamefaced. The magistrate, in consequence of ly away.
the younger of the two being what When the disciple of Bacchus eva- technically called an old offender, sen. porated, the jailer came into court, tenced him to imprisonment for one conducting a little precocious urchin, calendar month; the elder, upon rewho seemed about twelve, or at most ceiving the mitigated sentence of a thirteen years of age, with a pale fortnight's durance, burst into tears, hungry face, a sharp roving eye, and crying out, “ Please you, my lord, give the most unmitigated impudent expres me the same as Bil; Bill didn't do no sion we ever yet beheld in man or more nor me, nor I didn't do no more boy. He was dressed in a ragged blue nor he-give me a calendar the same jacket and fustian trousers, in the as Bill !” pockets whereof were thrust his tiny The laughter of the spectators, in hands. He now and then hitched up which the bench participated, could his inexpressibles, sailor fashion; and, not be restrained, while this modern turning round to the mob, winked with Pythias continued blubbering and prayeither eye several times, at the same ing for his “ calendar." His worship, time putting his tongue in his cheek however, was deaf to the urchin's -expressions, as we understood them, entreaties, and the friends were pitchat once of his respect for the bench, forked unceremoniously out of court. and of an easy indifference to his pre Another group enter upon the changesent peculiar situation. When the ful scene - an iron faced master and turnkey's eye fell upon him, he assumed idle runaway apprentice. Indentures an air of ludicrous gravity ; altogether, are handed by the former to his lord. he appeared a thoroughly depraved ship, and complaint prepared It aplittle rascal; nor did his dialogue with pears that, notwithstanding the appren. the worthy magistrate at all tend to tice ge's fifteen shillings a-week for weaken our first impression.
the work he does while learning his When the charge was read, and the trade, he chooses to absent himself evidence gone into, his worship ad- from his master's premises, for the dressed the culprit.
purpose of participating in the diverMagistrate. - I am afraid you are a sions of Epsom races. The youth, on very bad boy. You have been here being asked to account for his conduct, before- what was that for ?
raises a point of law-_namely, that Urchin.-Oney for breakin' a vin, where a premium has not been paid
with the boy, masters have no legal Magistrate.--I presume, with the controul over their apprentices. This intention of stealing something. the bench overrules, not without an
Urchin.--No-for ven I'd a broke admonition to the youth for assuning it, there war'n't nuffin to steal. such a line of defence. Turning to
Magistrate. -I must send you to the master, his worship asked whether prison for three months.
he wishes the boy to be sent to prison, Urchin.– Werry well.
at the same time benevolently depreMagistrate. And when you come cating such a conclusion, if it can be out, I hope you'll be a reformed cha- possibly averted, observing that a pri.
son is a bad school for any one, much Urchin, (with energy.)- Ven I does more for an apprentice, and so forth. come out, I 'opes as how I'll make a The master, however, is a hard, inexman of myself by doin' a summut. orable man, and he inclines not to
Turnkey now seizes the urchin by mercy; he leaves matters entirely in the collar, lifting him as you would a the hands of the magistrate. Now, cod-fish, and bundling him off to a cell, his worship, evidently with pain, senimmediately returning with a couple tences the boy (a respectable looking of juvenile delinquents, a size larger, lad) to a month's imprisonment. The but without the remarkable shrewdness female relatives of the culprit open the and vivacity of the departed culprit. floodgates of their eyes, and look im
ploringly now at the magistrate and tion of its infliction ; the good it makes now at the prisoner. The latter is bad, the bad it makes worse. Vindicabout to be removed, when a poor, tive in its own nature, it generates hard-working lad slips forward, intro- vindictiveness ; humiliating and disducing himself as brother-in-law of the graceful, it sinks men to the level of prisoner. He makes an appeal to the humiliating and disgraceful things. We bench on the score of the youth of the were, therefore, pleased and grateful prisoner, and condemns his conduct; to the worthy magistrate for the salu. he turns to the master, imploring him tary dread he evidently showed of not to send the lad to a jail, and dis- introducing a foolish youth into the grace his family : finally, he hopes the contaminating atmosphere of a prison, magistrate will at least mitigate the and of affording him the opportunity of sentence; and concludes a prudent, maturing his folly into crime. manly, and judicious speech, by offer Next enter upon the scene sundry ing himself as security for the pri- publicans, charged with having "consoner's future conduct.
jured spirits from the vasty deep" of The auditory seemed pleased with their cellars, after the hour prescribed the propriety of the young man's speech by law and superstition, beyond which and demeanour. The worthy justice those etherial essences are not percompliments him highly, and reduces mitted to communicate with mortal the term of imprisonment to seven lips—that is to say, twelve o'clock at days. The culprit testifies his grati. night-a prowling policeman, whose tude by pulling his forelock, but the hang.dog countenance is quite enough affectionate brother-in-law is not yet to carry an instinctive conviction to satisfied; he makes another and more your mind of his readiness to swear earnest appeal to his lordship to over any thing, fiippantly kisses the book, look the matter this time, and he will and proceeds, in a drawling official never hear more of it; he points out nasal tone, to recount-"how, at fifthe boy's mother weeping in the crowd, teen minutes past twelve on Saturday and insists upon the injury the boy night, (here he interpolates the date will sustain in his character by having with much exactness,), as he was been, even for seven days, the inmate a-going of his rounds, he hears the of a house of correction. Although sound of a noise in the house of the the matter is so trivial, yet the earnest. defendant, and peeping through the ness of the amicus curiæ is so sincere, shutters he sees a light; then he his affection so apparent, and his tact knocked at the door, and had to wait so considerable, that he has awakened till he got in. When he got in, he an interest in the Bench; the specta- seed men a-going to bed, and heerd tors look as much as to say, we hope your them a- hollering for candles." Upon worship will not refuse the petition of cross-examination, the fellow's prevathis good-hearted fellow. His worship rication tallies with his expression of does not refuse; he admonishes the face so exactly, that the worthy magisboy in a feeling and impressive, but trate is compelled to dismiss the case, considerate and friendly, address. He it being quite clear that the inmates gives the master a hint about injudi. were domiciled in the tavern, and that cious severity; and, having recom there was no ground for any charge in mended all parties to the performance the present instance. of the duties in their several relations, Exit Boniface rejoicing, and enter not without again taking favourable a knot of omnibus cads and drivers, notice of the conduct of the brother- charged with violently racing in the in-law, dismisses the parties, every public streets: the look of conscious body looking pleased and satisfied. It innocence these fellows-the most outis very pleasing to see justice thus dis- rageous ruffians of the town-have the armed of its severity, and judges, with art of screwing upon their carbunculated out compromising their dignity, con- physiognomies when before a magisdescending to mild reproof and whole trate, is the most amusing thing in the some admonition. Sure we are, that world; it says more eloquent than the heart must be hard, and the nature words, as much as “ what a hinjured incorrigible, of him who would not mortal I is, to be pulled up this here profit more by a scene like this than fashion afore the beak, jist for doing by months at the tread mill. Punish. nuffin to nobody.” ment, when severe, defeats the inten A gentleman of evident respectabi
VOL. LII. NO, CCCXXI,
lity comes forward, and swears that the mous in thinking that the sixpence was worthies, now in custody, formed their due to them; and as it was impossible ponderous vehicles, three abreast, in to believe one party more than another, the Strand, at eight o'clock on the the respective epouses of the belligeSabbath evening ; that they galloped rents were called upon to enter into literally at the top of their speed along recognizances severally and individually half the Strand, was sworn to by seve. to keep the peace. ral witnesses; and that nothing could “ It's a rummy thing, sir," remarked have saved the lives of those whose a humorous-looking policeman, whose vehicles met theirs, save the course civility in pointing out to us what was that was adopted of driving out of the worthy of notice we had occasion to way
of these reckless vagabonds, upon reward afterwards with a drain of beer; the footway, to the great terror and “ it's a rummy thing that these here danger of her majesty's liege subjects. women as comes to our hoffice, never The case was so gross, that some of the by no chance lets out a word agin their defendants pleaded guilty, and were own side of the question-no, not immediately fined forty shillings each. when the hevidence goes agin 'em as Some of the most cunning made blun clear as mud ; they keeps talkin' right dering defences, with a palpability of on end, a perwaricatin' and aggrewatin', falsehood perfectly ludicrous. till his worship’s like to bust a stoppin' observed, with regret, that those supe- of 'em ; but it isn't no use whatsomrior scoundrels were not mulcted in a dever, and the end of it is, we often greater sum than the others.
has to bundle the whole bilive out o' Place aux Dames.-A case of as court; and arter that you'll hear 'em sault comes next, and the bottle-nosed accusin' and aggrewatin' till they gets crier introduces Jane Maddox and Mary to Long Acre. I never was over the Davies. Jane deponeth, that by com water myself, sir,” continued the servimand of her spouse she waited on tor of justice, " but I shouldn't be surMary Davis for the sum of sixpence prized if faymale cases wasn't the werry sterling, due and owing by the said same at Union Hall." Mary Davis ; who, upon demand of Who the little magistrate who prethe same, called Jane “ every nasty sided is, we know not ; we never saw name she could lay her tongue to ;" him before, and most sincerely hope and finally, throwing her from the top we may never see him again. But if of the stairs to the bottom, followed exemplary patience, which not even her down to bestow upon her a vale the tongues of women can disturb, if dictory kick, and so dismissed her with great good-nature and benevolence, if many hard words and bruises, but a clear head and a feeling heart, be not without the casus belli—the sixpence his portion, then we have studied huin dispute. Ladies, on both sides, man nature to very
purpose. At swore point blank that the assault had all events, if it were our fate to be and had not been committed, inter “ had up at Bow Street” upon an larding their evidence with the domes unfounded accusation, we hope we tic histories of themselves and families, may be confronted with his worship; with a cataract of words no power of but if guilty, we beg he will at once bench or officers could oppose, until commit us to the house of correction, exhausted nature compelled a brief for there is a mild severity in his recessation, Each successive witness proofs, and a degree of pain in the agreed in declaring that there was not discharge of his painful duties, which a syllable of truth in the statement of would cut deeper into our heart, and her predecessor ; nothing could be got sink us lower in our own estimation, at but that thi re was sixpence in dis than the wholesome severities of the pute somewhere, but all seemed unani tread.mill.
Westminster Hall is a pleasant place we paced its adamantine floor from end enough to those who, like ourselves, to end with high hopes and sanguine have no business there, or, which is the expectations; with well fitting wig, same thing, who cannot get any busi- flowing stuff gown, clean shave and ness. There was a time, indeed, when shirt, white cravat, starched bands,
and law.book under our arm, we these accompanied the honour and refondly imagined ourselves of some im spect that attend him who is invested portance; but a few brief, not as we with the ermine, gratified ambition then thought they would turn out, would be heaven on earth! Old or briefless years, and we should have young, high or low, there is nothing progressed from stuff gown to silk, and more gratifying to the mind of man have migrated from the outer to the than success honourably acquired, and inner bar; there how sweet the echoes the successes of the bar are truly splenof our sonorous voice resounding did. The proininent position of the through the precincts of the crowded successful advocate, “the everyday court; how delicious the breathless publicity given by the press to his exhush of expectation when we should ertions, the importance of the interests have risen, and the busy hum of satis- committed to his skill and care, the fied admiration when we should have pertinence of his legal and forensic sat down again, the fixed attention of ability to the purposes of political life, the bench, the congratulations of learn the number and value of the prizes in ed friends, the verdicts of juries, the his professional lottery; these are the confidence of solicitors, the grateful spangles upon the robe of life that atacknowledgement of clients, the won tract the eyes of those whose hopes dering glances of listening crowds were outrun their judgment, and whose exto have been ours, not to mention pectations are jumped at rather than glittering rouleaus of fees, to which we calculated. Crowds admire the figures should, perhaps, have given prece- upon tapestry—the splendour of the dence; then what remains to us but colours, the rich intermixture of its a seat in Parliament, thick-and-thin purple and gold; but who turns the arvoting with the minister, and behold us ray to contemplate the jagged ends of at length upon the bench, clothed in thread, tags of worsted, and unsightly sacred ermine, the awful representa patchwork, of the reversed side of the tive of majesty-oracle of law-despi- picture ? and yet it is upon this side ser of the God-like attribute of earthly the artificer sits and works—this is the justice!
picture as he sees it--the showy outThus exalted, what were we to have side is for the spectator. Thus it is been ! in eloquence an Erskine, in law that we look upon life; ermine, lace, a Mansfield, in lucid precision a Lynd- gold, jewels, rank, fortune, station, hurst, in dignity a Denman, yea, even ambition, glitter in our eyes, and we upon that bench, ambition, we thought, envy the good fortune of the possess. should hunt us still we should have ors, and think they must be happy, been the chief among chiefs, and the seeing but the show side of their lives; judge among judges.
yet not a life among them that has not, Such are the day.dreams, unambi or has not had, its rags and tags and tious, and therefore happy peruser, knotted ends, its wrong side, in short, that bubble under frizzled hair; such in which the artisan has not been the aerial phantoms that will cross the fingering all his days, until the spleninward eye of man that wears a wig; dour that he has made becomes disyet how seldom are they realized how tasteful, and only serves to enrich the few of these atmospheric chateaux de eyes of ignorant spectators. scending, fix themselves to earth and Pause, reader, and take off your give you unquestionable possession ; we are now about to be introduced to ay, and when they are realized, my the awful presence of the justices of friends, where is the pleasure that gave our lady the Queen at Westminster. anticipation the delight-possession Stay, there is a full Number's work does not show you? Where the fresh here: meet us upon this spot a month ness of heart, the buoyancy of spirit, hence. Good-by for the present. the elastic step, the lightsome counte Put on your hat again, virtuous reader, nance, of the days gone by, days of and take care of yourself. Good peoyour obscurity and your youth, of your ple are not by any means drugs in the struggles and your hope ? Alas, if market of society !